Reuters

Human affairs never stand still for long. Innumerable small, everyday and almost unnoticed changes have a way of undermining existing patterns of behavior and belief until a single individual's actions or a single public event may suddenly trigger rapid and far-reaching alterations in the public life of millions or, in our day, hundreds of millions of people. The Oath of the Tennis Court was such an event in 1789; Lenin was such a triggerman in 1917; and now, 200 years after the French Revolution, Mikhail Gorbachev has initiated changes that may well turn out to be comparably important, even though they have not

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